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Spooky season is in full swing, and to help you get into the spirit of Halloween, REALTOR.ca is uncovering some of the best haunted tours in Canada. From dark tales told as you stroll the streets of Old Quebec in Quebec City to the ghostly walks through Victoria, British Columbia, to bone-chilling hikes in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, these haunted tours are frighteningly fantastic. But, do you have the courage to read on?
Banff Ghost Walk: explore the spooky history of Banff, Alberta
Haunted hotels, ghost towns, and spine-tingling stories of horrific happenings on Banff’s historic streets, Banff Ghost Walks divulges the hidden history of Bow Valley.
The tour kicks off at 7 p.m and takes you through downtown Banff. You’re led by a knowledgeable interpretive guide who brings life events that took place in the past and the ghosts and ghouls haunting its historic landmarks.
This spook-tacular tour is nearly two hours long and takes place from the beginning of May until the end of October (the outdoor walking tour covers two kilometres, so proper footwear and clothing is recommended). Banff Ghost Walks are family-friendly and appropriate for children 8 and over. Private tours are available upon request, and both English and French guides are also available.
Want to learn more about Banff without the sinister stories? Check out this article on Canada’s basecamp for adventure.
Crimes in New France: an animated walking tour through Old Quebec
Explore the darker side of Old Quebec, as your guide shines the light on the macabre mysteries of this haunted historic neighbourhood in Quebec City. During the animated Crimes in New France walking tour, you’ll learn about the atrocities that took place in the community centuries ago and the grisly executions that followed.
Your guide plays the role of one of the city’s most notorious characters and leads you to various locations where criminals were justly (or not) incarcerated and later sent to the chopping block. The sombre atmosphere is lessened by informative and educational stories about what was once known as New France and the neighbourhood’s major landmarks and their historical significance.
The 90-minute tour departs from the entrance of the Morrin Centre at 8 p.m. from Sunday to Friday and midnight on Saturdays. Children must be accompanied by an adult, and the outdoor tour involves walking up stairs and hills.
Crimes in New France is hosted by Les Promenades Fantômes and is one of four tours available in the city. English options are available for specific tours, running predominately in September and October, while select summer tours are also available.
Ghostly Walks: ghost tours in Victoria, British Columbia
From gruesome crimes to tragic accidents, Ghostly Walks brings Victoria’s haunted past to life in Bastion Square and throughout the city. Discover the what hides behind the city’s old-world charm, with charismatic guides sharing spell-binding anecdotes some might say are best left forgotten. Enjoy an exploration through historic streets and alleys, all while learning about Victoria’s eccentric characters, hangings, murders, and ghosts.
Having collected more than 500 tales of spooky happenings and the sordid truth behind them, the tour guides deliver a truly immerse experience that’s the perfect amount of creepy and funny. Ghostly Walks combines riveting theatrical delivery with passionate storytelling to provide guests with a memorable, yet chilling, adventure through hand-picked routes.
Founded by local historian and noted paranormal author John Adams, Ghostly Walks offers tours year-round with seasonal points of view in the summer, Halloween, and Christmas. Tours are family-friendly, with most beginning at the Victoria Visitor Information Centre—select tours depart from various locations throughout the city. These outdoor tours cover one to two kilometres and last approximately one hour.
Ghost Tours of Fort George: the most haunted place in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Niagara-on-the-Lake might be considered one of the prettiest towns in Canada, but it’s commonly referred to as one of the most haunted, too—and Fort George is labelled the most haunted place in the community!
Ghost Tours of Fort George was established in 1994 and is the longest-running ghost walk in the Niagara Region. This guided, candle-lit night tour takes you through the ominous National Historic Site renowned for its paranormal activity. Learn about unexplained events and spectral sightings, including the benevolent spirit of young Sarah Ann and the menacing presence of “The Watcher.”
Guides boast about the tour not being an experience where actors portray ghosts, jumping out to scare you when least expected—it’s an account of real stories from real encounters with real spirits. It’s said you may even walk away with a real experience of your own, all while being introduced to the fascinating history of Fort George.
Ghost Tours of Fort George are conducted during the spring and summer, from May to September, and special Halloween tours are offered at the end of October. Tours typically run between one-and-a-half to two hours, and as it’s a walking tour through the dimly lit fort, some rough terrain is covered. It’s recommended to dress accordingly with comfortable footwear—bug spray is suggested during the summer months.
St. John’s Haunted Hike: Newfoundland’s oldest running ghost tour
As one of the oldest cities in North America, there’s no shortage of ghostly accounts within St. John’s, and most are known by Haunted Hike’s founder Dale Gilbert Jarvis—a local storyteller, author, and folklorist.
As a master of the macabre, Dale thrills his audience with tales of St. John’s phantasmal lore as he leads guests through the city’s historic landmarks. The eerie atmosphere is immediately conjured with the tour beginning at the gate of the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and heading straight to the Cathedral’s haunted cemetery grounds. Next, you’re taken to Willicots Lane, a narrow alley leading to a hidden square where a foul murder was committed and kept secret. From there, the hike stops at many of the city’s iconic spots—all of which have their own despicable past.
St. John’s Haunted Hike is full of supernatural chronicles, with guides rattling off legends of knocking walls, ghostly awakenings, hangings, and haunted houses. Stories are delivered with morbid pleasure, complemented by charm and humour that can cause a laugh as easily as a scream. The outdoor tour lasts an hour and fifteen minutes.
This concludes our round up of five of the best haunted tours in Canada. Do you have an experience with a tormented tour that wasn’t covered in this article?
*During the ongoing development of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s recommended by health officials across Canada to limit recreational travel. This article is meant to provide inspiration for future trips when it is safe to do so.